Wednesday, August 14, 2013

BE COOL by Elmore Leonard

This was a somewhat lackluster effort by Mr. Leonard, if you ask me.  Capitalizing on the success of Get Shorty, he brings us another episode in the life of shylock-turned-moviemaker Chili Palmer.  Chili tends to base his movies on real-life events, and that's not a bad thing, since he seems to attract some pretty unsavory and colorful characters.  He wants to do a movie about the record business and gets into the business himself after music mogul Tommy Athens is murdered during their lunch together.  The first (and only) act that Chili comes to produce is Linda Moon, the lead singer for a rockabilly band, who is under contract to another label.  When Chili tells Raji, her manager, that Linda is through with him, Raji becomes the second guy who wants to waste Chili; the first is the Russian whose face Chili got a look at when he shot Tommy.  Raji has a gay Samoan bodyguard, who may not be gay or Samoan, and wants Chili to be left alive to guarantee him a screen test with Chili's latest squeeze, Elaine.  Chili is definitely a cool customer and a likeable, raffish rake, but all of this nonsense can take a book only so far.  I'll admit that Chili and his band of merry men (and women) are mildly entertaining, especially when Chili makes some questionable judgment calls, just to see how things will play out for his movie. 

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